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The Perfect Oil Field

Burgan Oil Field in Kuwait is not the biggest oil field in the world but it is arguably the best example of reservoir "perfection" the world has ever known.

From 1948 thru 2016 the Burgan complex has produced something in the order of 32.5G BO. Development has required a minimal number of very low maintenance wells (est. 573); it produces little to no water except on the down structure flanks, and its production costs are by far the lowest of any oil field in the world.

Kuwait City; Burgan Oil Field to the South and Umm Gudair Oil Field to the Southwest.

Burgan Field was discovered on 23 February 1938 by the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), formerly a partnership between Gulf Oil Corporation of the United States the Anglo-Persian Oil Company; its discovery was based partially on a topographical high mapped on the surface with plane tables, magnetics and oil seeps.

Discovery Well

The BG-1 discovery well encountered over-pressured, Cretaceous age 'Wara' clastic sandstones at a depth of 3,800 feet and blew out at the rate of 4000 BOPD of 32 API oil. Eight other delineation wells were drilled in the field thru 1942, all of which found new pay zones, the most prolific being clastic sandstones of the 'Burgan' formation containing 35% porosities and permeability of over 4000 millidarcies.

For you shaley minded folks that is an oil reservoir that one could almost drive a pickup thru.

Burgan is an anticline structure that is 30 miles long. It is divided in half by a narrow graben system and further bifurcated with normal faults that have small displacements and do not affect production. All of Bugan's producing horizons share similar sub sea oil/water contacts and their primary drive mechanism is underlying water.

Wells producing

today in Burgan Field still flow, 70 years after discovery.

Information about Burgan is scarce; some pressure maintenance may currently be underway. The reservoir is "managed" by limiting withdrawal rates and monitoring oil/water contacts. Burgan produced

1.29 million BOPD in 2015. KOC says the optimum production rate that can be achieved without harm to the reservoir is something in the order of 1.5-1.7 million BOPD.

In 1991, following the end of the Persian Gulf War, 511 of Burgan's oil wells, including 113 in the Magwa sector, were blown completely up or damaged by Suddam Hussein and a retreating Iraqi army. An estimated 1.4G BO was lost during the seven month campaign to regain control of those wells. Numerous wells in the Burgan complex, particularly in the Amhadi sector, were thought to be blowing at the rate of 100,000 BOPD or more up 3 1/2 in. OD production tubing. In spite of this enormous amount of uncontrolled blowout flow, no measurable drop in bottom hole pressure occurred in any of the six producing reservoirs.

The Burgan complex is expected to produce for the next 30-35 years and ultimately recover 61G BO and 38Tcf of associated gas.

Two wells at the structural apex of Burgan Field have produced over 78,000,000 BO each and at least a dozen more wells over 45,000,000 BO each, an indication of the extreme productivity of Burgan wells.


(4) Oilfields of the World; E.N. Tiratsoo, Gulf Publishing 1976

(5) Kuwait Oil Fires; Tahir Husain, Pergamon 1995

(6) Personal conversations with Larry Flak, PE, O'Brien, Goins, Simpson & Assc.; Boots and Coots, Inc. 1995.

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